About Custom Art

Custom Art
Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) technologies have been vigorously consolidated in new buildings and continues to grow moderately as Energy Efficiency (EE) technologies in existing buildings (energy refurbishment market). The demand for BIPV, which replaces and upgrades standard exterior building elements with new ones incorporating photovoltaics, seems poised to take off. The numbers speak for themselves. Technavio predicts that global BIPV sales will triple by 2019, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.7% from 2013 to 2019. In this field, the most important factor driving this growth is a trend toward “truly integrated PV materials” that can substitute conventional products and have built-in electrical connections. This promising scenario of mass realisation of BIPV and PIPV solutions can only be achieved through a solid investment in R&I efforts focused on 1) their certification as building construction material; 2) a high-degree of flexibility in design; 3) a wide variety of products, available at different scales and on different substrates and 4) improved aesthetics. For that reason, the “CUSTOM-ART project” (disruptive CZTS -based thin film technologies CUSTOMised for challenging ARchitecTural and active urban furniture applications) is the last milestone within an attractive path to place on the market a new generation of BIPV/PIPV solutions in approximately 6-8 years and aiming to reach a cumulative turnover of €216M by 2029.

Our concept
The following chart summarizes the main expected outputs associated to each key stage of the technology development process along the years from the “proof of concept” to the “mass market penetration”:
The concept of the CUSTOM-ART project is conceived to develop and test 2 configurations of enhanced CZTS modules capable to satisfy challenging PV integrations that demand highly aesthetical and energy density requirements under scenarios of buildings (BIPV) and urban furniture (PIPV). In this sense, the ground-breaking novelty consists in the combination of earth abundant, low cost and CRM free materials in a single solar cell structure that can be configured in 2 module designs according to the nature of the substrate/back-sheet material (steel or polymer):

MONOGRAIN SOLAR MODULE CONFIGURATION | Advanced aesthetics applications (BIPV-2: Curved façades and PIPV-2: Bus canopies):

Created by the combination of thin film monograin photovoltaic CZTS technology embedded into polymers to satisfy the end-user’s needs of very high degree of flexibility and durability combined with superior aesthetic performance.

MICRO-CRYSTALLINE SOLAR MODULE CONFIGURATION | High-power applications (BIPV-1: Solar tiles and PIPV-1: Urban furniture):

Conceived by the integration of conventional thin film photovoltaic CZTS technology onto steel substrates to satisfy end-user’s needs of high degree of mechanical flexibility combined with excellent potential for high energy density applications.

Objectives and targets
CUSTOM-ART will demonstrate that the new generation of CZTS -based solutions developed and tested during the project, will become the most robust and cost-effective thin-film technology in the EU for challenging and demanding architectural and urban furniture applications. To ensure a solid positioning in the market, the backbone of the competitive edge gained by this technology will require:
KPIs Target at the end of the project (2024) Long-term Target (2026) WP
Efficiency (ƞ) (Solar Cell and Module) Demonstration at solar cell level of a performance ƞ ≥ 20% and at module level of a ƞ ≥ 16%. Both configurations. ƞ ≥ 25% at cell level and ƞ ≥ 20% at module level WP1
WP3
Reliability and Reproducibility Improved homogeneity at large scale (≤ 10% variation of composition and PL integral intensity in 20x20 cm2 prototypes). Preservation of electrical properties under scenarios of fluctuating light, heat and moisture. Introduction of improvements in TCO, sealing and encapsulation Homogeneity better than 5% variation WP1
WP2
Stability and Lifetime Demonstration at module/device level of a lifetime of 35 years with a performance of 95% through in-field DHT. No light soaking and/or hysteresis effects Lifetime ≥ 40 years WP3
System size (Wp) and dimensions Fabrication of large size module prototypes: 1) Monograin module (20x20 cm2; 6.4Wp)) and 2) Micro-crystalline module (5x10 cm2; 0.8Wp) Large-scale size formats (20xInfinite cm2) WP4
Manufacturing Costs Selection of key materials capable of reaching manufacturing costs around 40 c€/Wp. This means a reduction of 20% regarding the current SoA (50 c€/Wp) Manufacturing costs of < 40 c€/Wp WP5
Sustainability & recyclability Energy payback time less than 1 year and ≥ 85% recycling rate Energy payback time of 0.5 years and ≥ 85% recyclability WP5

This approach will be reinforced by the development of a product integrated methodology capable to combine technical, environmental and socio-economic aspects in a full LCA and LCC. To reach this challenge, this main goal is divided into several specific objectives (SO) embedded in a tailored Work Plan:

SO1

To develop and test 2 enhanced configurations of CZTS modules conceived by the perfect combination of earth-abundant materials to demonstrate the fulfilment of KPIs directly linked with the technological competitiveness of the technology: Efficiency (20%), high-stability and lifetime (>35 years; 95%); reliability and reproducibility (less than 10% variation in key parameters); recyclability (85%) by the end of the project.

SO2

To apply a set of cost reduction strategies to achieve a highly competitive manufacturing cost target of <40 c€/Wp (polymer and steel substrate configurations). Both approaches will guarantee reducing by 20% the current manufacturing costs of competing thin-film technologies.

SO3

To assembly and test 4 module prototypes, as a full system, in 2 Business Cases where the role of PV technologies is considered vital for the final products of the end-users: AYESA as construction and engineering firm expert in BIPV and KWS as urban furniture manufacturer expert in PIPV. This approach will allow us to demonstrate technical feasibility through an exhaustive monitoring and assessment of selected KPIs in a relevant environment.

SO4

To introduce novel circular economy strategies to ensure a high-recycling target (≥ 85%) that guarantee the development of a sustainable PV solutions and to demonstrate its environmental, social and economic impact by the development of a full LCA and LCC.

SO5

To boost the European PV industry through the commitment of substantial investments in manufacturing plants especially in the cell/module assembly stages. To that end, it is needed to ensure its long-lasting sustainability, minimising the dependence of non-European raw materials thanks to promotion of local earth-abundant materials. The CUSTOM-ART project will provide an excellent framework to convert the knowledge of the centres of excellence in tangible products, services and innovations by the industry players.

SO6

To update and refine the current feasibility study and business plan as a “strategic tool” to get a smooth market penetration and proper orientation of the future products and services in 2024. This plan will require the generation of profitable business models, the application of an IP and knowledge management strategy and the definition of finance and investment plans, among others.

Workplan
The CUSTOM-ART project is structured in 8 interrelated work packages, illustrated in the figure on the right. WP1 (WP leader: TALT) will be a methodological WP that develops high efficiency solar cells and defines the specifications. WP2 (WP leader IPC) will be a WP dedicated to enhancing the encapsulation, durability and reliability. WP3 (WP leader: CRYS) will be a WP dedicated to the development and the fabrication of PV modules. WP4 (WP leader: SUN) will aim to assemble the component prototypes developed in previous WPs and validate the results. WP5 (WP leader: OBU) will be dedicated to the integration of cost analysis and recycling into the design process of PV modules. WP6 (WP leader: AYESA) will focus on business concepts for PV modules developed through this project. Key issues to be analysed include the distribution between benefits, costs and risks amongst the parties involved, different conditions for early and late adopters, and growth models. Additionally, it will be ensured the dissemination and take up of the project results by end-users. WP7 (WP leader: IREC) will ensure that all actors of the project follow the work plan, administrative-financial management through the life of the project. It will act as a management, integrative WP. WP8 (WP leader: IREC) will ensure that all the actors of the project follow the national/European ethics requirements.